Statistical sleuthing brings trust back to journalism

“Newsrooms will begin to build innovative digital research labs equipped to use automation, computation, quantitative analyses, and forensic techniques.”

The rise of disinformation and attacks on the media in recent years have eroded trust in journalism. To rebuild that trust, the stories we publish need to stand up to greater scrutiny. Receipts are required.

Leaked documents and datasets are an important part of giving the public proof of wrongdoing and injustices. While whistleblowers play a crucial role in bringing truth to light, they are few and far between. (For those few reading this now: The Markup’s tip line is 917-407-0635 on Signal. Let’s talk.)

In 2022, newsrooms will invest in cutting-edge methods for uncovering the truth. They’ll begin to build innovative digital research labs equipped to use automation, computation, quantitative analyses, and forensic techniques.

A handful of exceptional teams are leading the way today. The Markup, Bellingcat, BuzzFeed, Consumer Reports, and Human Rights Watch are nontraditional newsgathering operations that have all incorporated forensic reporting, digital tools, and statistical analysis into their work with laudable results. These data-driven efforts are powerful. They not only reveal hidden truths in the public interest — they also burnish trust in journalism itself.

Julia Angwin is founder and editor-in-chief of The Markup.

The rise of disinformation and attacks on the media in recent years have eroded trust in journalism. To rebuild that trust, the stories we publish need to stand up to greater scrutiny. Receipts are required.

Leaked documents and datasets are an important part of giving the public proof of wrongdoing and injustices. While whistleblowers play a crucial role in bringing truth to light, they are few and far between. (For those few reading this now: The Markup’s tip line is 917-407-0635 on Signal. Let’s talk.)

In 2022, newsrooms will invest in cutting-edge methods for uncovering the truth. They’ll begin to build innovative digital research labs equipped to use automation, computation, quantitative analyses, and forensic techniques.

A handful of exceptional teams are leading the way today. The Markup, Bellingcat, BuzzFeed, Consumer Reports, and Human Rights Watch are nontraditional newsgathering operations that have all incorporated forensic reporting, digital tools, and statistical analysis into their work with laudable results. These data-driven efforts are powerful. They not only reveal hidden truths in the public interest — they also burnish trust in journalism itself.

Julia Angwin is founder and editor-in-chief of The Markup.

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